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God is my Home

Title: God is my Home
Artwork by: Melissa Rechard (@belovedscribbles)
Description: It all started when I left home and moved to a new town with my husband. I was excited about our new home and started decorating it and making it cozy. During the first year, a flash flood happened when we were not in the house. The flood ruined my precious guitar and our brand new furniture. It was heartbreaking. Little did we know that it became an annual event for 4 years that left us devastated each time. It was a cycle of cleaning up the mess and resolving to feeling settled again.

Last year, when the flood happened, my husband and I decided to move out and rent a place. Despite having a new place to stay, I felt depressed and constantly restless. I realized that this feeling of homelessness was also aggravated by the sudden death of my father early last year. The home that I used to return to in my hometown was void of the coziness and security that I once had. It felt so empty. With the loss of my home and the grief of losing my dad, I tried finding security in a physical home. During that season of constant struggle, the Lord spoke to me over a series of events that changed my perspective.

One day as I was going up the lift in our rental, I told God, ‘Please Lord, give me a home.’ Suddenly, the lift stopped, leaving me in total darkness. In that dark space, God impressed upon my heart that this earthly home is temporary.

A few nights later, I listened to the song ‘I am no victim’ by Kristene DiMarco, the lyrics, “I am no orphan, I’m not a poor man. The kingdom’s now become my own and with the King I’ve found a home”, spoke to me so deeply. I felt so comforted that the King is my Home!

The Lord spoke to me again after I painted an eagle for my mum’s birthday (picture below) as she requested. I wasn’t aware at the time but a friend reminded me that the eagle carries significant meaning in God’s Kingdom. I learned that God wants us to be carried on the wings of an eagle so that we see His perspective, not ours.

 

One morning during my quiet time, I pictured myself resting on a soaring eagle’s back where I could see the mountains and valleys below. God reminded me that I just need to rest as He carries me to soar above my circumstances. The verse ‘You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles’ wings and brought you to Myself.’ (Exodus 19:4 NKJV) became so real to me.

 

 

He also gave me a vision of a huge eagle hugging and enveloping me under its wings. The verse “He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty” (Psalm 91:1 NKJV) suddenly came alive. Under the shadow of His wings I find refuge. HE is my secret place, HE my Home! It was mind blowing! God then showed me that He is greater than all my earthly problems. That was when I saw the Eagle flying from the earth and earth started appearing so tiny. He flew into the galaxy and suddenly it became so huge that I couldn’t see the end of His wings anymore! And He said, ‘I AM INFINITE’. I was in awe.

 

 

God is infinite and greater than the vastness of the galaxies. He showed me that He is bigger than the floods that destroyed my earthly possessions, bigger than the grief I feel for the loss of my father, and bigger than my longing for an earthly home. Above all, He is my constant, he is my Home.

 

Invisible

Title: Invisible
Materials: Pencil Drawings
Description: Earlier this year, we participated in an exhibition organised by our church. Our project was focused on deaf and blind people. Through individual drawings of each of our five senses, we tell the moving stories of how five individuals (aged 30 to 50 years old) worship God despite of their physical impairments.

 

Exhibition - 1

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Drawing of the Hand

Alejandro Gonzales is deaf but that doesn’t stop him from “hearing” God. Whenever he looks at himself in the mirror and every time he picks a Bible to read, he sees and hears from God. “I can’t hear but each time I read the Bible, I’m able to hear God’s voice” he said. He clings to the promise from Psalms 143:6-7.

 

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Drawing of the Mouth

Gerson Ramírez was born deaf-mute. Although he cannot verbally articulate what’s in his heart, he uses his hands to express his worship to God. He trusts that God will fulfill His promises and looks forward to the day he will be in the presence of God and his speech is restored. One of his favorite promises from God is from Psalms 19:1-4.

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Drawing of the Ear

Yaned Cuca is deaf but much happier than many others who have all five of their senses intact. She enjoys a close relationship with God which is the result of focusing on God and enjoying His presence all day. She lives as if each day is her last on earth. She often wonders why some people who can hear have no desire to listen to God? Her favorite passage is Isaiah 29:17-18.

 

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Drawing of the Eye

José Ruiz became blind as a result of sickness. Although he was bitter at the start, he has since accepted his condition after coming to believe in Christ. He jokes that he will always find his wife pretty as his only memory of how she looks is when she was 30 years old. His wife is currently 55 years old. His favorite of God’s promises is Isaiah 35:5-7.

 

Exhibition - 7

Exhibition - 3

 

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Drawing of the Nose

José Gallegos is both blind and deaf but he loves God with all his heart. In order to communicate, he places his hands on the hands of the interpreter to feel the movement and shape of the signs. This is known as Tactile Sign Language. He firmly believes that the breath of life God has given him is all he needs to communicate with God. His life motto is Psalms 150:6.

 

Exhibition - 6

Artist Feature | Brothers Ink

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Brothers Ink is made up of three people: Julian and Oscar
Ramírez (we’re brothers) – and our friend, Gabriela Monroy. Growing up, we’ve all shared the same passion for art and creativity, and we each have personal stories of how God met us at our lowest points. Now, we want to tell others about God and show that He is real and that He exists.  

We hope to be relevant in today’s secular world – not boring or cliche. With the help of the Holy Spirit, we want our art to convey that everything in life comes from God. Everything we do is because of Him, through Him, and for Him.

Oscar Ramírez: I’m an illustrator and photographer from Colombia, studying graphic design. I first encountered God at the age of 9 when a relative brought me to church. My relationship with God started during the period my parents were going through a divorce.  

Julián Ramírez: I’m an illustrator, and graphic and web designer from Colombia. I became a Christian at 16 when my younger brother, Oscar, shared with me about his own relationship with God. At the time, I was struggling with drugs and alcohol and was drawn into church when Oscar shared with me about God being his superhero.

Gabriela Monroy: I live in New York City and am a close friend of both Oscar and Julian. My relationship with God began at the worst time of my  life six years ago when my grandmother died in a tragic car accident. In my depressed state, God met me and showed me His love and joy.

ODJ: full-circle compassion

February 27, 2016 

READ: 2 Corinthians 1:3-7 

[God] comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others (v.4).

Following a tumultuous season in her life, Bethany Haley Williams battled with shame and brokenness. The journey was difficult, but through Jesus she experienced healing that transformed her life.

Prompted by the grace and mercy she received, Bethany formed Exile International, a nonprofit that implements art/expressive therapy and long-term, rehabilitative care to restore and empower war-affected children—including children rescued from the dreaded Lord’s Resistance Army in Africa. In her book The Color of Grace: How One Woman’s Brokenness Brought Healing and Hope to Child Survivors of War, Bethany writes, “When your greatest heartache becomes your greatest ministry, grace comes full circle.”

Bethany now devotes her life to living out these words: “All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort. He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us” (2 Corinthians 1:3-4).

Regardless of where we live, our social status, or our circumstances, we can rest assured that God knows about our suffering and misfortunes. He’s with us in the pain. God is merciful, loving, and attentive to our needs. Whether our suffering comes from persecution, disease, or emotional hurts, He can use what we experience to lift up and help others who are in need. As Paul wrote to the Corinthians, “When we ourselves are comforted, we will certainly comfort you” (v.6).

No matter what we’ve done or what we’re facing, God is there to shower us with His unfailing love and compassion—gifts we can then share with others.

—Roxanne Robbins

365-day-plan: Joshua 1:1-18

MORE
Read Isaiah 41:10 and consider the comfort that God alone can provide. 
NEXT
How have you experienced God’s presence and comfort when you’ve gone through difficult times? Who can you comfort today—pouring out the comfort you’ve received from your heavenly Father? 

(Check out Our Daily Journey website!)

ODJ: encouraging words

November 21, 2014 

READ: Nahum 1:7-15 

Look! A messenger is coming over the mountains with good news! (v.15).

In the film Saving Mr. Banks, writer Pamela Lyndon (P. L.) Travers reluctantly agrees to allow Walt Disney to bring her beloved character Mary Poppins to the silver screen. Carrying deep emotional wounds, P. L. is controlling and cantankerous—causing the film adaptation of Mary Poppins to be a difficult proposition for all those involved in the production. Unlike her literary character who could magically take flight, Travers—trapped within a cloud of bitter thoughts and memories—almost prevents the film version of Mary Poppins from getting off the ground.

Nahum and the people of Judah struggled under a dark cloud—the deadly threat of the Assyrians (who had destroyed the Northern Kingdom of Israel). This led to desperate thoughts and a bitter existence. But Nahum received a word from God—an encouraging word. Good news was “coming over the mountains” to lift them up and out of their valley of despair (1:15). God promised to one day destroy the evil empire at their doorstep. But not only would He destroy the Assyrians, He would also preserve His people—making for peace and celebration (vv.12,15).

This good news surely must have lifted the peoples’ spirits and filled their hearts with hope. Nahum, inspired by God, declared, “The LORD is good, a strong refuge when trouble comes. He is close to those who trust in him” (v.7).

P. L. Travers, moved by some lyrics composed for the movie Mary Poppins, found relief from her dark thoughts as she sang “Let’s go fly a kite . . .” in a scene from Saving Mr. Banks. Are you feeling trapped beneath a dark cloud caused by bitter life circumstances? Allow God’s encouraging words to lift your heart today! —Tom Felten

365-day plan› Romans 8:1-18

MORE
Read Jeremiah’s words in Lamentations 3:19-26 and see how he found light and hope even in the midst of some dark days. 
NEXT
What bitter memories and painful circumstances are darkening your world today? What will you do to bring those things to God and claim the encouraging truths found in His Word? 

(Check out Our Daily Journey website!)